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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, dated 11/20/2012 [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 125
1. Kimochis® Bug Makes a Splash! Mini Bundle – Giveaway

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: November 21, 2012

Enter to win one of four Bug Makes a Splash! prize packs from the warm and fuzzy people at Kimochis®. 

Perfect for a holiday gift and for any parent, teacher or caregiver trying their best to raise emotionally intelligent children!

Four (4) winners will receive:

  • A copy or Bug Makes a Splash!
  • Kimochis® Mini Bug
  • A 10% off coupon on the official Kimochis® website
Prizing value, $32

Giveaway begins November 21, 2012, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 18, 2012, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Reading level: Ages 3-6

Hardcover: 32 pages


Bug Makes a Splash!

In Bug Makes a Splash, Bug is afraid to try new things. When his friends invite him for a swim, he would much rather stay at home and read a good book. When Lovey Dove reminds Bug that it’s okay to be afraid, Bug finds the courage to overcome his scared feelings and dives right into the fun surprising everyone!Bug Makes a Splash is a sweet reminder for reluctant children on the meaning of being brave and offers caregivers simple tips to help children find the courage to spread their wings and fly.

The lovable Kimochis® characters come to life with this imaginative new picture book series illustrated by award-winning artist Hanako Wakiyama. Each book introduces children to the varicolored world of feelings and includes a forward from communication expert Ellen Pritchard Dodge, M. Ed, CCC-SLP, giving parents and educators simple tips to help children practice for life’s challenging moments.

Kimochis® Mini Bug

Kids will love collecting and expressing themselves with adorable Mini Kimochis® characters! Don’t be afraid of emotional attachments—hook the keychain onto your backpack and let your friends know how you’re feeling inside.

Mini Kimochis® Bug comes with a fun Kimochis® comic book (Bug’s Buggy) and a Brave feeling keychain. Bug is a caterpillar who is afraid of change. He is thoughtful, cautious and has secret dreams of flying. Bug’s wings can be tucked away in a pocket in his back.

1. 6” plush character
2. Bugs wings can be tucked away when he’s feeling afraid or can come out when he’s feeling Brave!
3. Includes a 2” Brave feeling with carabineer keychain.
4. Includes Kimochis™ comic book – Bug’s Buggy

About Kimochis®

Kimochis® are award winning educational tools that help children and adults learn to identify and express feelings, develop positive social skills, strengthen relationships, and build confidence and self-esteem. For more information, visit: http://www.kimochis.com

How to Enter

  • Fill out the required fields below
  • Enter once daily

Giveaway Rules

  • Shipping Guidelines: This book giveaway is open to participants in the United States only.
  • Giveaway begins November 19, 2012, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 18, 2012, at 11:59 P.M. PST, when all entries must be received. No purchase necessary. See official rules for details. View our privacy policy.

Prizing courtesy of Kimochis®.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Original article: Kimochis® Bug Makes a Splash! Mini Bundle – Giveaway

©2012 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.

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2. nervous cat drawings

Last week I had an evening when I was feeling fragile, and I inked four little pictures of a rather upset cat. (I'm okay now, I hasten to add. I was just feeling a bit overwhelmed with by a very long list of things I need to do in a rather short amount of time.) Here's one of them:

And another:

This morbid video by McCann made me laugh. It's part of a safety campaign from Melbourne Metro Trains. The song's performed by Tangerine Kitty. I love their little dance moves.

A big congratulations to Dave Shelton, whose illustrated book A Boy and a Bear in a Boat, published by David Fickling Books, has just been shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards! (You can read my earlier blog post about the book here. The awards also shortlisted two graphic novels, Bryan & Mary Talbot's Dotter of Her Father's Eyes and Joff Winterhart's Days of Bagnold Summer. I hadn't even heard of the second one, I ought to look out for that. (Here's a review by Just William's Luck.)

I'm going to try to go along to this Japanese Comics & Cosplay party in London on Saturday, especially because the excellent Emma Vieceli will be there. It should be good fun, do come along! And you don't have to, but feel free to dress up as your favourite comics or animé character! Details on the Goethe Institut website.

And today while I work, I'm going to listen to Alex Fitch's latest Booklist radio show podcast, which includes Axel Scheffler and Oliver Jeffers. Visit the Booklist website, or go straight to the Resonance FM podcast link here.

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3. Sendak & Co.: Children’s Book Illustrations Since “Where the Wild Things Are”

The work of Courtney Pippin-Mathur, author and illustrator of Maya was Grumpy (Flashlight Press, to be released May 2013), was showcased in Sendak & Co.: Children’s Book Illustrations Since “Where the Wild Things Are,” an exhibition at the Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala, Florida, that opened this Sunday, November 18, 2012.

In addition, Courtney’s watercolor image of Maya with bright orange curly hair, was featured on the promotional postcards. —>

Read about Pippin-Mathur’s exciting experience at the opening via her blog post.

The exhibition runs until January 20, 2013.

0 Comments on Sendak & Co.: Children’s Book Illustrations Since “Where the Wild Things Are” as of 1/1/1900
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4. What’s the Difference Between Historical Fiction and History? (Lesson Plan)

Many children love historical fiction, and teachers and parents like it because it helps teach a period in history that’s in the curriculum. I chose to write a historical fiction novel because of my background as a teacher and of how much I loved to read novels like Little House on the Prairie and Sarah, Plain and Tall when I was young. But do children understand the difference between historical fiction and history/nonfiction books? This is a quick mini-lesson you can do to introduce the genre, work on compare and contrast, or just make sure children understand the difference and the benefits of reading both!

1. Draw a Venn diagram on the board or on a piece of paper. Children can do their own, too.

2. On one side write: History/Nonfiction book. On the other side write: Historical fiction.

3. Ask children to tell you some characteristics of both–for example: “True facts.” This could actually go in the middle because nonfiction books are full of true facts, but so is historical fiction. Another example would be: “Made-up characters” This should only go in the historical fiction side. “Real people”–this could go in both because real people often show up in historical fiction books–such as General Grant and General Pemberton who are both in my book, Finding My Place, but they, of course, were also in real life.

4. Once the Venn diagram is filled out, write some sentences (conclusions) that you can draw from the activity. For example: Historical fiction has made-up characters, and nonfiction history books do not. Sometimes, authors will put real historical figures in historical fiction books.

5. The important conclusion to draw is that although historical fiction is based on fact, there’s a lot of fiction. Nonfiction history books SHOULD BE filled with only facts!

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5. The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree

80th Anniversary Blog Tour

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: November 21, 2012

This year marks the 80th Anniversary of the Rockefeller Center Tree—the tree lighting will take place on Wednesday, November 28th— and we’re honored here at TCBR to kick off the Random House blog tour for The carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree by talking to author David Rubel.

Rubel is a brilliant man enlightened in the art of language and history. His brilliance shines through in our interview and his many inspiring and informative books; such as, If I Had a Hammer: Building Homes and Hope and Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times

The carpenter’s Gift (written in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and illustrations by Jim LaMarche) captures the essence of giving and charity, showing the importance of compassion during the holidays.

Bianca Schulze: “If ever there was a magic moment, Henry thought, this is it.” Throughout the story there are two prominent magical moments for your protagonist Henry. Which of these two experiences would you consider your own personal highlight?

David Rubel: For me, the second “magic moment,” when Henry watches the young girl pick up the pinecone and stuff it in her pocket, is the more powerful because it represents a connection being made between people across time. When Henry first encounters the magic in 1931, we don’t yet know what will come of it. Henry’s experience may just be one great day in the life of a Depression-era child. As the story unfolds, we see that the magic transforms Henry’s life, but we still don’t know whether it will be passed on in any way. The sequence of events at the very end of the story, especially Henry’s gift of the hammer to the young girl, tells us that the magic will endure and that the girl will keep it alive as Henry has.

“The Carpenter’s Gift” Illustration copyright © 2011 by Jim LaMarche

BS: The colored-pencil illustrations by Jim LaMarche are evocative of the 1930′s era, depression time, and warm the soul with their glow. What were your thoughts when you saw the finished illustrations combined with your text?

DR: While writing the book, I would occasionally muse about what the accompanying art should look like. It was important to me that the illustrations evoke the era of the Great Depression. A number of styles were popular during that time, especially art deco, the style in which Rockefeller Center was designed. But art deco was much too sleek and glitzy a style for this material. Instead, I thought a better choice would be the style developed by the muralists who worked during the Depression for the Works Progress Administration. These artists used a simple, unaugmented technique to show the pride and integrity of average Americans trying to make their way in the world, and that look seemed to me quite appropriate for Henry’s story.

The first time that I spoke with Jim LaMarche, he told me that he had recently visited Coit Tower in San Francisco, which has several WPA murals. What would I think, he asked, about his illustrating The Carpenter’s Gift in that style? If ever there was a magic moment, that was it!

BS: This is your second book that revolves around the organization Habitat for Humanity. The first was in collaboration with former president Jimmy Carter: If I Had a Hammer: Building Homes and Hope with Habitat for Humanity. What does it mean to you to write books that highlight such a wonderful organization? And, while we’re at it, how did you collaborate with former president Carter?

DR: Before I began researching If I Had a Hammer, I knew only what everybody else knows about Habitat for Humanity: that the organization builds homes for poor people. It didn’t take me long, however, to realize that, in fact, I had no idea what Habitat really does. For example, Habitat doesn’t build home for people in need; it builds homes with them. That is, Habitat doesn’t give the homes away. Instead, it raises the money needed to build simple, decent, affordable homes and then sells each home to a partner family at cost through no-profit mortgages. In this way, the organization offers a hand up rather than a handout. Then, Habitat uses the mortgage income from the homes it has already built to fund the construction of even more homes. That’s why Braveheart screenwriter Randall Wallace calls the organization a “perpetual-motion miracle.”

I learned the mechanics of the Habitat system from reading documents, but it was President Carter who taught me about the human dimension. He is, as you know, a very bright and articulate man, and he has thought a great deal about philanthropy in general and Habitat in particular. He explained to me that the gap between the haves and the have-nots is a “chasm” so wide that no single person can cross it on his own. The economic, social, and cultural differences are just too great—and that’s where Habitat comes in. Habitat, he said,  provides a bridge that allows people to cross the chasm, come together, and find redemption.

BS: Have you had the opportunity to help build a home through the organization?

DR: After I wrote If I Had a Hammer, my wife, Julia, and I began volunteering regularly with our local Habitat affiliate. We’ve also traveled to build homes with some of the friends we’ve made in the Habitat community nationwide. One of our most rewarding trips was to build with a group called the Habitat Road Trip Crazies. Led by Lynchburg, Virginia, contractor Tom Gerdy, the Crazies work with small affiliates in the mid-Atlantic states to create “blitz builds.” For the Crazies, that means two houses in a single weekend. Tom and coconspirators Chuck Doremus and Larry Owen make this happen by bringing upwards of 100 volunteers to the job site. It’s quite an experience and an incredible amount of fun. For twenty years now, according to Tom, he has been trying to give more than he gets from his work with Habitat. But no matter how hard he tries, he says, he always gets more back.

BS: The majority of your written work fits the genre of history. Have you always been a history buff?

DR: Sort of. I actually came to history through an interest in the politics of the 1960s. In high school (during the mid- to late 1970s), I read books like James Simon Kunen’s The Strawberry Statement and James Michener’s Kent State. A little further afield but still of interest to me were works like Robert Caro’s The Powerbroker and Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong’s The Brethren. At the time, the subjects of these books were still “current events.” But as I got older and maintained my interest in the period—still trying to figure out just what had happened and why—I moved from what you might call a social scientist to a historian.

BS: Could you tell us about any upcoming books or projects that you’re working on?

DR: I’ve just finished two projects. One is an update to my Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times. I prepare a new edition every four years to incorporate the most recent election cycle. It’s interesting work because  it really is a “first draft” of history. It feels like writing a review of a movie whose end you haven’t seen—which reminds me of one of my favorite aphorisms. The philosopher G. W. F. Hegel once wrote that “The owl of Minerva flies only at dusk,” by which he meant that wisdom takes wing only after the events of the day have been completed.

The project that has taken up much more of my time recently is a companion book to Steven Spielberg’s new film Lincoln. For that project, I wrote a historical essay that gives a broader view of the events depicted in the film. I also interviewed a dozen of the filmmakers (including some of the actors) to create a journalistic account of how these professionals used their crafts to bring Lincoln’s White House to life. My favorite conversation was with sound designer Ben Burtt, who won an Academy Award for his work on Star Wars (he created the “voice” of R2-D2). Ben made it his mission to record as many sounds as he could that Lincoln would have actually heard. For example, there are several scenes in the film in which the president looks at his pocket watch. The ticking of the watch heard by the audience could have been the ticking of any antique watch, but Ben spent months tracking down a watch actually owned by Lincoln so that he could record its ticking for the movie.

BS: Is there a piece of history that you’ve yet to tackle that you are most looking forward to sharing with young readers?

DR: Although I’ve written two books about the civil rights movement (an illustrated history called The Coming Free and a children’s biography of Fannie Lou Hamer), I still haven’t gotten around to writing about the 1960s as an era. Because I was literally a child of the Sixties, having been born in 1961, I can remember what it felt like to be alive at that time, especially the feeling of possibility and the sense that something historically important was going on. My subsequent education has taught me that this feeling was essentially illusory—that the massive material forces influencing our behavior are always equally at work. It’s just that we think about them in different ways at different times. Even so, that doesn’t make the feeling of being alive at a historical cusp any less interesting or beguiling.

The metaphor I like best is that of a surfer riding an enormous wave—a tsunami. The surfer represents the baby boom generation,  and the wave is the irresistible  force of history. As the exhilarated surfer moves back and forth across the curl of the wave, exercising his free will, he gets the distinct impression that he is somehow controlling, or at least manipulating, the wave. And because he is young and this experience is all he has known, he fully expects it to last forever. Furthermore, he can’t understand why everyone else—the “squares”—aren’t surfing the wave, too. Then the wave breaks, and the surfer is wiped out. What does he do then? That’s a question I’d like to answer, but it will probably take several years and many hundreds of pages.

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The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale About the Rockfeller Center Christmas Tree

By David Rubel; Illustrated by Jim LaMarche / Random House Children’s Books

ISBN: 978-0-375-86922-8 / Ebook: 978-0-375-98067-1

More Information

Habitat for Humanity

Random House

Blog Tour Dates

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012: TheChildrensBookReview.com

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012CrackingtheCover.com

Friday, November 23rd, 2012The Book Maven’s Haven

Saturday, November 24th, 2012BookingMama.com

Sunday, November 25th, 2012: {Eat the Book}

Monday, November 26th, 2012Maestra Amanda’s Boohkshelf

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012: HeiseReads.com

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Original article: The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree

©2012 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.

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6. Gift Idea - Heelys shoes + a Giveaway of your choice

Today is the first day of our Thanksgiving break, and to celebrate I've been saving some of our families favorite gift ideas to introduce to you this weekend.  First up is Kik's favorite.

Gift Idea -Heelys

About - This was our first time ever trying a Heely's product first hand.  Kik has wanted some for years,  but she was always just too little.  She went through a growth spurt a month ago, and they finally come in her size!  She looked at the website for awhile, wanting to make sure she picked out the perfect pair.  She finally decided to go with the girls Blossom shoes.  Because 1- they are her favorite color, and 2 - they light up.

Heely's come without the wheels attached, but they were super easy to put in.  All you do is pop out the panels with the provided tool, and snap in the wheels.

Then it's time to get wheeling!  Here is a little video that we took of her first time wearing her heelys.  (For some reason I can't get it to turn, but as soon as I get it fixed, I'll get the post updated.)

She loves them!  She hasn't been able to practice tons because of the weather, but she thinks they are super fun.  I love that the wheels can come out so they double as shoes and skates.  They are a great fun way to get her up and exercising. 

To Buy - The Blossom shoes retail for $59.99 and can be purchased online at Heelys.com.  Make sure and check out  their awesome black friday sale.  You can also find Heelys on facebook.  Connect with them for updates, specials, and a little fun.

To Win - The great folks over at Heelys, are giving one of you a chance to win your choice of any in stock Heelys!

To Enter complete any of the entries on the rafflecopter form below.  Open to US no PO Box.  For more info see the terms and conditions on the bottom of the form. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received a product to review from the above company or their PR Agency. Opinions expressed in this post are strictly my own - I was not influenced in any way. I received no monetary compensation for this post. By entering this giveaway you agree to my giveaway/disclosure guidelines

20 Comments on Gift Idea - Heelys shoes + a Giveaway of your choice, last added: 12/5/2012
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7. Memory and Character by Lynda Waterhouse

Last week I met up with an old friend. It had been at least fifteen years since we had last seen each other but soon we were talking endlessly about characters and writers that we loved such as Barbara Pym, Dorothy Whipple, Margery Sharp, Laurie Graham, Alexander Baron and David Mitchell. It was a real pleasure to talk about stories that I love and to give and to be given recommendations of what to read next. We talked about our own lives in between but fiction was the touchstone that set us alight. I left the café feeling elated by the conversation.  
I have always created imaginary characters. Night after night as a child I would take a battered tennis racket and ball out into the back alley under the pretext of playing out but really as I bounced the ball I was making up stories. Nowadays I stomp along the South Bank. Ideas come to me when I am moving about. My imagination likes to play games with me, letting me slog away fruitlessly for hours at a desk and then hurling an idea at me as I'm stepping on a train.
For my latest story, ‘Magic Moments and the Dull Bits in Between’, I found one of my characters reliving one of my childhood memories. I am a child of seven sitting in the empty room above my Aunty Lily’s baker’s shop. I am kneeling on the cold hard lino watching a group of sparrows eating breadcrumbs in the back yard. At the time I knew that I would never forget that moment. Virginia Woolf in ‘Moments of Being’ described it as follows:
‘We are the words; we are the music, we are the thing itself.’
The reality of being a writer trying to sell ideas and earn a living requires hard slog, a rhino hide and the crazy optimism that I always feel when I begin writing; the cockamamie belief that I can become an overnight sensation after years in the business.

Maybe the overnight success bit is a tad overoptimistic but my intention is always to create a bunch of characters and a story that will linger in a reader’s imagination long after they have finished the novel. I hope that my carefully chosen words and images will transfer to the reader’s imagination where they will settle into a satisfying memory. That by sharing my words I am sharing a bit of myself.
 I want my characters to be talked about between friends in a café. I want them to matter to people.
What do you want?

3 Comments on Memory and Character by Lynda Waterhouse, last added: 12/2/2012
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8. COUNT ME IN A Parade of Mexican Folk Art Numbers in English and Spanish

By Cynthia Weill
Illustrated by The Aguilar Sisters

Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press (October 16, 2012)
10-digit ISBN1-935955-39-X

Practice your numbers in English and Spanish when you count the beautiful dancers, playful musicians, and happy children of Oaxaca as the Guelaguetza parade goes by! Pronounced Gal-a-get-zah, the lively celebration—full of traditional dancing and music—takes place every July deep in the heart of southern Mexico. ONE band leader with a big white balloon! DOS hombres with firecrackers! THREE musicians! FOUR giants! All exquisitely handcrafted by the Mexican folk art masters Guillermina, Josefina, Irene, and Concepción Aguilar, in collaboration with author and scholar Cynthia Weill. ¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to the parade!

Cynthia Weill
is a professor and mentor to teachers at Columbia University's Teachers College. She also owns a non-profit—Aid to Women Artisans—that promotes the craftwork of artisans from developing countries. Count Me In is her fourth book in the First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art Series.

The Aguilar Sisters are Mexico's most beloved artisans. They learned how to make clay figurines from their mother Doña Isaura. These lively independent women are considered great masters of Mexican folk art and have been visited by Queen Elizabeth, Queen Sofia of Spain, various Mexican presidents, and Nelson Rockefeller. Their humorous ceramics of the people of their town and state are in museum collections the world over.

Other books in the series 

Little kids love colors, they love animals, and they love the sounds of words. Especially new words. Colores de la Vida—the third in the highly successful series First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art—combines all these elements to teach early learners about color. Leggy red giraffes, pink cows, purple rabbits—the Oaxacan folk artists who contributed to this book unleashed their imaginations and went wild with color. Young children will delight in the bright colors of the Oaxacan rainbow while folk art collectors will marvel at the whimsical handcrafts.

But the simplicity of a book like Colores de la Vida belies the years of research and thoughtful intercultural communication with third-world artists done by Cynthia Weill. As an art historian, she has always been interested in the crafts of developing nations. Weill's intention with Colores de la Vida—and its predecessors in the series, ABeCedarios and Opuestos—has been to find an educational purpose for the work of Oaxacan artisans. She hopes to open up a larger, more international market for their craft.

Cynthia Weill’s book of Mexican folk art teaches kids about opposites in Spanish and English! These whimsical little animals from Oaxaca, carved and painted by hand, make learning about opposites fun. Up and down, tall and short, left and right—all inside a beautiful book.

Delicate hand-painted animals from Oaxaca lead little ones through a bilingual alphabet.

Every ABC book worth its cover price is bound to have bright colors and big letters. But not every ABC book has magical hand-carved animals to illustrate every letter. And very few alphabet books present those letters in more varieties than English! Very few alphabet books except the ABeCedarios, that is! In this brightly colored book, the alphabet is presented in both Spanish and English, and includes the four additional letters—and whimsical animals—that make the Spanish alphabet so much fun.

0 Comments on COUNT ME IN A Parade of Mexican Folk Art Numbers in English and Spanish as of 11/30/2012 7:49:00 PM
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9. Remembering Madeleine L'Engle

Remembering Madeleine L'Engle

A highly recommended excerpt from Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L'Engle in Many Voices by Leonard S. Marcus, in Publishers Weekly....

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10. Comment on Book Review: Black Spring by Alison Croggon by Robyn

I like the idea of the plot following Wuthering Heights. That is one of my most favorite books. Paranormals are my favorites! I just finished a really good one called, “Shadow of the Sun” by author Merrie P. Wycoff . This a paranormal fiction thriller written in the time of ancient Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Ahkenaten and Queen Nefertiti and told through the eyes of their daughter, Merit-Aten. The story reveals the treachery, political intrigue and religious strife of the 18th Dynasty in Egypt.

0 Comments on Comment on Book Review: Black Spring by Alison Croggon by Robyn as of 1/1/1900
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11. Best Children's Books of 2012: Fiction | Kirkus Book Reviews

Best Children's Books Of 2012

Kirkus Reviews has published its best children's book of the year list...

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12. Warriors Readalikes

Warriors-Into-the-WildWarriors Readalikes

You know when you find an amazing book, and you never want it to end? How do you find another book to read after that? Our answer: Readalikes to the rescue! We hope our Readalikes will rescue you from the what-to-read-next question, and help you find lots of new amazing books.

Today's Readalikes are for the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by the powerful ancestors. But the warrior code is threatened, and the ThunderClan cats are in grave danger. The sinister ShadowClan grows stronger every day. Noble warriors are dying -- and some deaths are more mysterious than others.

There are lots of books in the Warriors series, plus a bunch of spin-off series by Erin Hunter. Once you have finished all those and you're still looking for more, read these other action-y animal adventure stories for ages 9-12. Click on the book cover below to see more Warriors Readalike books you might also love.

Warriors Into the Wild

 Hope you enjoy our Readalikes!

—Emily, Scholastic Booktalker

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13. Winning!

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and there’s SO much to be thankful for.  Mom and I have many blessings in our lives.  We’re super grateful that we were fine through the storms, and we continue to say prayers for our friends and family members who are still dealing with the sadness and nightmares of what the storm left behind. 

I have a lot of friends to thank today. A ton of awards came our way last week. And I even won a Thanksgiving contest!

Oh and Mom is kind of a winner, too. Her story came out in Turtle Magazine.

It looks really cute with all the fancy illustrations, and she is proud and excited and Blah. Blah. Blah…

But seriously – back to me and my awards. 

Thank you to Chelsea for sending us The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. She inspires us, too. To see some Inspiring facts about me, click here. If you’re inspiring, feel free to take the badge and tell 7 Inspiring things about yourself.

Thank you to AngelsWhisper for another Super Sweet Award.  Mom says there’s no such thing as too sweet. To see my Super Sweet questions and answers, click here. If you are Super Sweet, feel free to take the badge and answer the questions on your blog.

Thank you to Chuck and the Collies for giving us The Champion of the Heart Award. Such a special award from the brave and beautiful Trevor.

Thank you to Misaki for the Blog of the Year 2012 Award. It has stars and everything. Plus a ton of rules!

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/ and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

Yes – that’s right – there are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different!

When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Which means that you can check out your favourite blogs – and even if they have already been given the award by someone else – you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!

For more information check the FAQ on The Thought Palette.

Whew! That’s a lot of rules (to break), but I can handle it! Feel free to take this badge and follow the rules, if you like stars (and rules). 

Mom sent in my picture for a What Am I Thankful For contest at Pawsitively Pets and I won third place! Yay me! Here’s what I know about numbers – 3 is bigger than 1 and 2. That makes me the biggest winner of all! Thanks Lily and Ann!  Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

10 Comments on Winning!, last added: 11/30/2012
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14. Golden Boabab winners 2012

<!--[if gte vml 1]> <![endif]--><!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->PRESS RELEASE November 14th, 2012 Golden Baobab Prize Winners Named Jenny Robson Joy Nwiyi Rutendo Chabikwa The 2012 winners of the Golden Baobab Prize, a leading African literary award, have been announced. This year Joy Nwiyi of Nigeria, Jenny Robson of South

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15. Adding Texture in Photoshop Without Affecting Colour.


Since Zac Gorman asked,

1) Scan your paper or other piece of whatever you intend to use as “texture”.

2) Adjust levels etc. as necessary. Get it looking nice and even (assuming this is the effect you want).

3) Run the “High Pass” Photoshop Filter on that flattened image. Find it under FILTER > OTHER > HIGH PASS

3b) Tweak High Pass parameters as necessary. Get it just right and you win a stuffed Finn from Adventure Time.

4) Layer that High-Passed image above the layers you want to affect.

5) Set that layer’s Blend Mode to “Overlay”.

Voila. Hopefully the High Pass filter sucked out the essence of the texture you want to use. (If not, figure out another way.) Since the High Pass-ed image is mostly 50% grey, setting it to “Overlay” doesn’t mess with your image’s colour too much because I guess that’s how Overlay works. Shrug?

This Happy Little Clouds moment brought to you by Mr Tony Cliff. 

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16. Book Review: Black Spring by Alison Croggon

Love. Lust. Betrayal. A dangerous obsession.

Lina is enchanting, vibrant but wilful. And her eyes betray her for what she truly is - a witch. With her childhood companion, Damek, she has grown up privileged and spoilt and the pair are devoted to each other to the point of obsession. But times are changing. Vendetta is coming. And tragedy is stalking the halls of the Red House.
A stunning new novel by Alison Croggon, inspired by the Gothic classic Wuthering Heights.

Black Spring is to Wuthering Heights what Wide Sargasso Sea is to Jane Eyre. That is: thank goodness for the modern eye that provides a fresh perspective to 19th century Brontë-ian literature. However, while Wide Sargasso Sea provides the untold backstory of the woman in the attic, Black Spring reimagines Emily Brontë’s world as a place of magic as well as violence.

As in Wuthering Heights, the reader is introduced to the northern English moors through the perspective of a wealthy man from the south. Hammel seeks rest and a writerly retreat in the north, but when he meets his peculiar landlord and has a paranormal encounter, he becomes intent on discovering the history of the house’s occupants. The housekeeper, Anna, obliges him with her tale.

It is here that the story truly begins. I realise that Croggon is mimicking the framework of Wuthering Heights as well as the plot, but as a reader it is Anna’s perspective that is engaging and thought-provoking. I felt Hammel to be nothing but the bread on either side of what is an otherwise meaty sandwich.

Anna is a woman out of time. Although a servant, she is the milk-sister and childhood companion of the royal-blooded Lina. She is educated, and treated with respect. Her account of the lives and relationship of Lina and Damek is peppered with poignant observations about life in the north, and the inequalities afforded to women. It is this subtly-challenging and much-needed feminist perspective that makes me want to staple Black Springs onto every copy of Wuthering Heights currently sitting in a bookshop.

In Croggon’s moors, the people are ruled by Royalty and Wizards. These men together decide the law of the land, and oversee the uniquely-northern phenomenon of vendetta:

It begins with the murder of a man (the murder of a woman is considered a crime against property, not against honour). After a murder there is forty days’ truce; then the man deemed responsible for the crime may be killed at any time. The murderer must pay in two ways: with the Blood Tax, and with his life. His death must be at the hands of the victim’s nearest male relation. Once the killer is slain, however, the avenger must in turn pay for his crime, the second murder sparking the third, and so on.
- p 85

Also in the north, witches are killed as babies… except Lina. Her existence sparks an ongoing political battle, which brings Lina and Derek together but is also doomed to tear them apart. This is the core of Black Springs - an examination of friendship and belonging, and the destruction of individuals by circumstance. Black Spring could be a fascinating and endlessly useful classroom resource – touching on themes of identity, power, place, as well as social rights and equality.

 Walker Books

NB: The image here does not do the cover justice – in reality the eyes are a glossy lilac, providing a fittingly eery feel to the text.

1 Comments on Book Review: Black Spring by Alison Croggon, last added: 11/30/2012
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17. My Kung Fu is strong. (three creatures in a maze)

©2012 Dain Fagerholm

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18. Stringybark Humorous Short Fiction Award

What is funny? You tell us! The is Stringybark Humorous Short Fiction Award is presented to the writer whose story entertains the judges the most. So that means anything goes — satire, slapstick, farce, comedy, murder mysteries, love stories, adventure tales, erotica, character sketches, outback yarns or whatever or wherever your fancy takes you — just make us laugh, smile or giggle.

The story must have a link (no matter how tenuous) to Australia. Stories are to be no more than 1500 words in length.

There is a total value of over $750 worth of prizes in cash and books available.

Award Winners receive:

First Prize – $350 cash + publication + certificate + e-book + paperback (Value $368)

Second Prize – $150 cash + publication + certificate + e-book + paperback (Value $168)

Third Prize – $75 cash + publication + certificate + e-book + paperback (Value $93)

Authors of highly commended stories may also be invited to have their stories published and if so receive a free copy of the e-book (Value approximately $131)

Entry Fees:

One story – $9.95

Two stories – $18.90

Three stories – $27.00

Stories must be sent via email. Closing date for entries is 24 November 2012. Winners will be notified by  February 27, 2013. 

NOTE: After you have submitted your entry you should receive a return email stating that your entry and payment has been received and registered. If you do not receive a confirmation email within seven days of submission, please contact us to check on your entry’s status. Occasionally the internet is not as reliable as everyone believes and emails do not arrive.

Here are a list of some of the reasons why stories haven’t made it into the merit list for a Stringybark Short Story Award written by David Vernon for Stringybark. 

1. Word length
Check that you have met the word length restrictions. If you are asked to produce a 1400 word story, do not submit 2000 words. It will not win, no matter how good it is. Writing to a word limit is an art in itself and by entering your story you are proving that you can master the art of writing. Stick to the word limit. If your story is one word over the limit, your story will not be able to win a place.

2.  Subject matter
Check that you are writing about the subject matter of the competition. If the theme is Australia and Australians, do ensure that your story relates somehow to this theme. A science fiction story based on Sisyphus 7 and the story of the evolution of Greenveltdsiskis and their subsequent intergalactic war will not hack it!

3.  Grammar and spelling
Whilst this is a relatively small part of the judging, it is an indicator of the pride in which you hold your work. If you can’t be bothered to ensure that typographical errors are eradicated and your grammar is accurate, why should the judges? It is not their job to proofread your work.

Few writers are capable of proofreading their own material. Do pass your story onto a friend, relative or colleague and ask them to read it for errors.

Sometimes a story is so good, that these problems will be overlooked and the writer will be asked to revise their story for publication. Don’t bet on it though.

3.  Characterisation
Check whether your character’s actions are reasonable given the plot and what we know about the character.

4.  Historical accuracy
If your story is set prior to WWII, then please don’t mention the Holocaust! Recently a story mentioned the character’s doing ‘high-fives’ and yet the story was set in 1976. ‘High-fives’ did not become known until 1978. We are sticklers for these things!

5.  Plot
Short stories that are not character sketches usually need a good strong plot. Do ensure that the plot you have chosen does not rest on too many coincidences or implausible events. Unless it is a fantasy competition, the judges are looking for some semblance of realism. 

Other constraints

In any competition there are usually a good swag of stories that are excellent and deserve publication. However, there are financial constraints on publication and therefore the horrible task of culling the excellent stories has to take place.

Stories that don’t please ALL the judges are likely to lose out at this stage. Stories that cover similar themes to other stories are also likely to be held back. For example, an anthology can only have one or two suicide stories. More and the book can become too depressing. Equally, three working dog stories in a row, also can become tedious (unless it is a working dog anthology of course!).

Beta reading and seeking feedback

This is the most important tip of all. Get someone (preferably several people) to read your submission. Ask them to comment on spelling, grammar, plot, style, characterisation and anything else that grabs them. Ask for a critical and honest appraisal. Feel free to reject their comments, but do ask for them!

My partner, Barb, is my first Beta Reader. If she tells me that what I have written is rubbish then I start again. After it has passed her critical eye, I then send it to three other friends for their comment. Only after they have commented do I put it out in the public domain. It’s a rigorous (and sometimes ego-damaging) exercise, but it significantly improves one’s writing.

Very few competitions offer opportunities to provide feedback to writers from the judges and therefore this makes your beta reading even more important. It is your beta readers who will provide the feedback although we now offer this service to readers. Click here to find out more.

Contemporary writing

Keep up with contemporary writing by reading other anthologies of short stories. Consider reading anthologies of previous winners. You cannot write award-winning material if you don’t read award-winning material! See the Bookshop for suggestions.

Keep writing

Finally, keep writing and refining your stories. Just because one of the stories you submitted to a Stringybark Short Story Award wasn’t published, doesn’t mean it won’t make it next time around. It well may, as we use different judges and combinations of judges for every competition and if your story is good enough, it will eventually make it!

Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, awards, Contest, How to, opportunity, Places to sumit, writing Tagged: anthologies, David Vernon, Stringybark Humorous Short Fiction

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19. Pig on Cake!

Here's a fun sketch I wrapped up over the weekend...it is one part of a theatre poster I'm designing, for a pre-Valentine's day cabaret in 2013.  I just like the way this looks all by itself, super random: Pig on Cake.

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20. SkaDaMo Day 17

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21. Where Were You When I Was Young?

Ok, here's an Ohio YMCA summer camp that gets it!

Weeks are themed to popular book (and movie) series like Ranger's Apprentice, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the new Brotherband Chronicles by Flanagan.  The skills kids learn - horseback riding, survival skills, team building, archery - are much the same as any summer camp but with a literary twist that lets kids experience favorite books vicariously.

Hmm, sounds lots like some of the fun book-themed fun we create. You go, Ohio Y!

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22. A visit to St. Marie Among the Hurons

How to best describe Sainte Marie Among the Hurons? A recreated historic site and a sacred place of Christian pilgrimage, it attracts visitors from around the world. During his 24 years here as missionary to the Huron, in 1643 Father Jean de Brebeuf created The Huron Carol , part of his remarkable effort to establish a bridge between two cultures. The museum at Sainte Marie records their brief but significant shared history. 
 I  first visited Ste. Marie in preparation to illustrate The Huron Carol book, published in 1990.  In 2007 those same illustrations became part of an ongoing Huron Carol exhibit at the museum at St. Marie.  At summer's end this year I  retraced my steps through this beautiful and moving historic site.
The Huron Carol installation begins here, with the original Huron language verses and the later French and English versions.
Here are some of the pictures in the installation, enlarged pages from the book with the text in French and English. 
The scene above, the Chiefs from Far coming around the longhouse, was inspired by this very spot between the longhouses and the paling:
Another view from the lookout, looking down on the kitchen garden.

Three of the Huron Carol illustrations are available as cards, which can be ordered from the website or from my Etsy shop. The Knights of Columbus Museum  in New Haven, Connecticut, have prepared a "Christmas in Canada" exhibit this year, with the cards featured in their on-site gift shop.  
It is hard to believe that Advent (and beautiful First Light at Sainte Marie) begins in scarcely a week.  I have been busy with new work and teaching, and will be posting again soon. 

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23. SkaDaMo Day 18

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24. Giving Thanks

With Thanksgiving tomorrow here in the U.S., I'm thinking of all the things I have to be thankful for. Here's my list, not in any particular order:

  • my family
  • my friends
  • my agent
  • the writing community
  • book bloggers
  • my Spencer Hill Press family
  • my Month9Books family
  • my Swoon Romance family
  • my agency sisters
  • my YA Bound sisters
  • coffee (I couldn't function without it.)
  • the internet (for making it possible for me to connect with writers and readers all over the world)
  • good books
  • my laptops
  • music (even though I look and sound like an idiot when I sing along)
  • my editing clients
  • my health
  • everyone who has read my books
  • my blog followers
What are you thankful for?

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25. After Midnight (well, almost)

It's almost tomorrow.

0 Comments on After Midnight (well, almost) as of 12/1/2012 10:03:00 AM
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